Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark top the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, which is based on economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment. In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8), Nordic countries are sharing what makes them leaders in gender equality, how other countries can improve their gender equality policies and why #FeministForeignPolicy is important.
Gender equality policy in Iceland dates back to 1850 when the country enacted equal inheritance rights for men and women. More recently, Iceland elected the first female president in the world in 1980 and in 2009 became the first government to employ the same number of men and women. In December 2014, Iceland’s Foreign Minister hosted a ‘Barbershop conference’ for gender equality focused on ending gender inequality through the inclusion of men. The island has also been ranked the best country in the world for women 5 years in a row. Click here to learn more about gender equality in Iceland.
Gender equality is one of the cornerstones of Swedish society. The aim of Sweden’s gender equality policies are to ensure equal opportunities, rights and obligations in every aspect of life. From education to parental leave, work and politics, Sweden has several policies in place to prevent discrimination against women. Click here to learn more.
Moving up from 8th to 5th place on the WEF’s rankings this year, Denmark was first in the education attainment category, with full equality in literacy rates and enrollment in primary, secondary and tertiary education. In 2012, the Danish parliament adopted legislation obliging around 1,100 of Denmark’s largest companies to set targets for the proportion of the underrepresented gender in management.
In addition to the World Economic Forum, The Economist states that Nordic countries are the best place to be a working woman. Finland tops The Economist’s index, which combines data on higher education, labor-force participation, pay, childcare costs, maternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs.